The importance of making data-driven decisions in a marketing department cannot be overstated enough. For any marketer, having a deep understanding of its website traffic is one of the crucial skills, if not THE skill. However, some marketers don’t know where to begin. As the most widely used web analytics service online, Google Analytics presents the perfect start to gaining those super-valuable insights. It’s THE tool to see if your marketing efforts are yielding the desired results.
At first, GA can be challenging and overwhelming. There are loads of information, options, and features to exploit which all together are not quite easy to follow, especially if you’re just getting the hang of it. To help you out, here’s a list of 5 Google Analytics basics that every CMO worth its salt should know.
1. Tracking code
Google defines goals as a way to “measure how well your site or app fulfills your target objectives.” Basically, how and when your visitors complete specific actions set by you. For example, a goal is filling an information form or simply registering clicks on a specific button or part of the website. With properly configured goals, GA is set to provide you with critical information and become much more usable. Regardless if you are setting up one single goal or dozens of them, you’ll be measuring data like conversions and conversion rates against your own goals. Hence, you’ll immediately know if you are reaching them or failing along the way.
Goals can be found under the Admin tab in the far right column. There are built-in templates that cover the usual business objectives such as payments, creating accounts and so on. You can also create custom goals and be ultra-specific if you like. Setting up goals is the first step to tracking all of your analytics, with more goals producing more actionable data.
3. Reports and metrics
There are over 50 reports available and you can customize many based on your needs. It’s easy to see how one might get overwhelmed but don’t sweat it - the basic reports alone hold lots of useful information and insights. You’ll find them down on the left side menu. These are:
Real-Time - Shows you what’s happening on your site in real time, such as who is on, where they came, location, browsing history, and so on.
Audience - Provides insights about who is on your site, with various additional reports providing more in-depth knowledge like demographics, geo-based information, device or platform used for access.
Acquisition - Displays info on the journey people on your site took to get there, how they found and arrived at your website so you can reach more people.
Behavior - Tells important information about your website such as what your visitors are doing, how are they reacting to its content, bounce rate, and much more.
Conversions - Shows data about your conversions and sales.
Except for Real-Time reports, the rest has a default period of past 30 days, which can be changed at any point.
Expanding a bit on the previous entry, traffic is the metric that every marketer should know any time of day and night. It allows you to know if your ad campaigns are getting clicks or if your blog posts are generating traffic to your website or if your SEO effort is paying off. By going to Acquisition > Overview, you’ll get a quick overview of your traffic sources. Particularly, the Referrals tab in All Traffic will tell you which sites are leading to yours and how people are finding it. Thus, you can identify if your target audience is taking the bait and further tweak your strategy.
Among the most important things to track in GA are your campaigns. It’s relatively simple and easy, done with a use of a special trackable URL via Google’s Campaign URL Builder. What you do is add one out of five available parameters to that URL in order to collect important data about your campaigns. Furthermore, if you use AdWords, there’s a feature of auto-tagging automatically adds parameters to your URLs. Those that use AdWords alternatives will have to do it manually. All the info on how your campaigns are performing can be found under Acquisition - Campaigns.
Feel free to try these basic Google Analytics principles to get better insights into your marketing performance.
About Boaz goldstien
Boaz has broad experience in SEO and planning marketing strategies for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as being Google AdWords certified. When the work is done for the day, Boaz is playing guitar and managing his band Adamas. With a passion for continuous learning, he’s now learning coding and programming.